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MyHospitals website
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NDIS
NHMRC
non communicable diseases
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paramedics
pathology
Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme
pharmaceutical industry
pharmacy
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private health insurance
quality and safety of health care
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screening
sexual health
social media and healthcare
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tests
TGA
trauma
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youth health
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#CTG10
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A message for the Feds on bowel cancer screening…

Further to the recent Croakey posts on a new study evaluating the initial impact of bowel cancer screening, one of the study’s authors has sent in her take on the results.

Dr Sumitra Ananda, a cancer specialist in Melbourne, is hoping the Federal Government acts on the new findings.

She writes:

“The recent report in the MJA by our group supports the fact that the National Bowel Cancer Screening has the potential to save lives and decrease mortality. The first indicator of this is the dramatic shift in stage distribution between those that were diagnosed through the program and through symptomatic presentation.

Bowel cancer is the second most common cancer in Australia and also second in terms of mortality.

We have known from large randomised controlled trials that there is a potential to reduce mortality by 16-33%.

Breast cancer on the other hand, ranks lower in terms of mortality in Australia but has an established widespread screening program targeting women aged 50-69.

The current program has had a limited roll out to those aged 50, 55 and 65 and has only one screening with no re screening offered.

It is crucial that the government fully roles out the program with rescreening which could potentially save lives and ultimately save cost.

Participation is also a key to the success of a program and comprehensive communications campaign to maximise participation are necessary. The main reasons are likely to be the lack of awareness of the benefits of screening and reluctance or embarrassment to collect and send in a stool sample.

The study also suggests the apparent lack of uptake amongst the socially disadvantaged sections of the population. This may be due to lack of understanding, lack of interest  a study showed that people from more economically deprived areas had less interest in pursuing the test) or access (not the case in our study).

Another consideration would be that these individuals are undergoing initial screening but then not pursuing follow up or have difficulty accessing colonoscopy.

Given the potential impact of the screening program and its potential to save lives, the government must consider the complete roll out of the screening program and support the resources needed to sutain it.”

Comments 1

  1. Leo Braun says:

    Alan Jones: “Just one final thing, which has nothing to do with your portfolio, but as Deputy Prime Minister. My attention has been drawn to the fact that 350 bowel cancer patients a month are dying as they wait for the Federal Govt to approve a subsidy for the cancer drug Avastin. Eight months ago the Federal Govt’s expert medicines advisory body approved a subsidy and that would have cut the cost of the medicine to $32.90 for general patients and $5.30 for pensioners, and the drug can extend a patient’s life for months, in some cases, years”!

    “But before the subsidies can be paid, Cabinet has to rubber stamp the Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee ruling because the subsidy for the drug will cost taxpayers more than $10 million a year. Now, in the eight months since the drug was approved for subsidy, 1,600 patients who could have had their lives extended by the drug have missed out”!

    “Now, bowel cancer, Julia, is the nation’s most common and it kills more than 4,500 people every year. Can you, as the Deputy Prime Minister, accelerate Federal Government approval for the subsidy for this drug, Avastin”?

    Julia Gillard: “Well, what I can say, Alan, is I’ll certainly find out what’s happening with it. I’ll speak to my colleague, Nicola Roxon, the Minister for Health. Nicola, of course, is someone who’s very determined to make improvements in our health system. I’m afraid, Alan, I don’t know every detail about this”.

    Alan Jones: “No, but if I can come back to you because people are asking”?

    Julia Gillard: Certainly, “I’ll speak to Nicola Roxon and we’ll get an answer for you”! … http://www.deewr.gov.au/Ministers/Gillard/Media/Transcripts/Pages/Article_090311_134302.aspx

    Related topic … http://blogs.crikey.com.au/croakey/2009/09/24/for-another-view-on-prostate-cancer-screening

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